Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: The Wife Between Us

Summary: When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies. -- St. Martin's Press

I have been a big fan of Sarah Pekkanen and her woman's lit novels for year. I even had the pleasure of spending some quality time with her during a BEA a few years ago. So needless to say, there was not a doubt in the world that I'd be reading her new thriller THE WIFE BETWEEN US. She wrote this book with long-time editor Greer Hendricks (which makes it interesting on another level for me), and it's been getting amazing reviews including a starred one from Publishers Weekly. I'm happy to say that this novel did not disappoint!

THE WIFE BETWEEN US is full of twists and turns -- more than I can really count... and that's what  makes it hard for me to describe this novel to you. I'm at a loss about what to tell you because the basic premise of the novel isn't what it seems, and I'm afraid I will give away too much about the plot. Instead, I'll refer you to the publisher's summary above, but that's not going to give you much idea about what's going on in the novel either.

So... at the most basic level, THE WIFE BETWEEN US tells the story of an ex-wife named Vanessa who is kind of a mess. Once married to a dynamic and wealthy man (and oh yeah -- a very controlling and abusive one), she now lives with her Aunt Charlotte, works as a personal shopper at Saks, and drinks too much. She is determined that her ex's new fiancee, her replacement if you will, will never marry him; and she will do whatever it takes to make that happen. I think that's enough for me to say about this very complex story!

I really enjoyed THE WIFE BETWEEN US, and I was excited to learn that the film right have already been purchased by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners. (It should be a great movie, although I admit I'll be curious as to how they convert some of the novel to film.) Nothing about this book is what you think. Nothing. And that's what made it such a fun and smart read!

I will admit that this book did remind me quite a bit of one I recently read and reviewed -- THE LAST MRS. PARRISH. I was even prepared to be disappointed by the ending because I was expecting something similar to that novel. However, this book had loads of surprises for me. (See why I say nothing is what it seems about this book!) The way the novel was written, with alternating chapters between two characters, gave new meaning to the term "unreliable narrator." And when a few things were revealed about this characters, I almost wanted to start over to see how I missed it or if I could have figured it out. (Hint: there are a few very slight clues!)

In addition to the twists and turns in THE WIFE BETWEEN US, I also felt as if the character of Vanessa was very well drawn. I appreciated the complexity of her character as well as her background story. There is a secondary plot about her past that's teased to the reader, and I enjoyed that suspense aspect of the novel too. I could definitely see the authors' experiences with women's lit shining through with Vanessa's character.

All in all, it's hard not to wholeheartedly recommend THE WIFE BETWEEN US to fans of women's fiction and suspense novels. It's unusual enough that it will surprise (and maybe shock) readers... and question everything they think they know about traditional thrillers!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


techeditor said...

I read in ARC of this book a few months ago.

It describes a love triangle, but it doesn't exactly. It seems the ex-wife is stalking and terrorizing the girlfriend, but then it doesn't.

No one in this book is as they first seem. It feels like you are constantly having to revise your understanding of people and events. As a matter of fact, halfway through the book I wanted to stop and reread everything I had read so far

bermudaonion said...

I'm always impressed and amazed when people write a book together. I keep hearing good things about this one and hope to get to it soon, since I"m a big fan of Pekkanen's too.

Mystica said...

When a book has too many strands to be woven together I sometimes find it too busy to concentrate! This one is getting some very good reviews on the blogs all over.